Ex-FIA DG's volte-face on political witch-hunt allegations against PM

Bashir Memon says premier did not discuss any 'specific case' with him during a brief meeting


Our Correspondent May 02, 2021
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Former Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) chief Bashir Memon has retracted his allegations that Prime Minister Imran Khan had instructed him to initiate probe against Supreme Court’s judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

His explosive claims had stirred a political storm in the country with PM Imran terming the claims “baseless”.

In an interview with a private TV channel on Saturday night, Memon, backtracking on his earlier claims, said his meeting with the prime minister as FIA chief was lasted only for two to three minutes and the premier did not discuss any specific case with him.

“The prime minister just appreciated my professionalism and told me that being a courageous person, I can do it,” he said. “Go and do your job properly,” he then quoted the prime minister as saying.

Censuring the former FIA chief, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said, “In Pakistan one can accuse the prime minister merely for making headlines but later can easily take a U-turn”.

Fawad stressed that this trend of hurling false allegations must be stopped once and for all. “If the issue is raised with the concerned news channel, then media freedom comes under threat and if the guest is asked for explanation then allegations of political victimisation are hurled,” he wrote in a tweet.

Earlier this week, Memon whipped up a political storm by claiming that PM Imran as well as Minister for Law Dr Farogh Naseem and Adviser to the PM on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar had asked him to start an investigation against the apex court judge – a request he claimed he squarely rejected.

Both the federal cabinet members also vehemently rejected the claims and Akbar served a legal notice of Rs500 million on the former FIA DG “for his lies and slanderous accusations with mala fide and without any evidence”.

Also read: FIA DG Bashir Memon resigns in protest

According to Memon’s allegations, levelled in a private TV show, he was called to the Prime Minister's Office for a meeting where the premier told him that he was "a very good officer" who has been registering “good cases” in the past and that he should “take courage” and register a good case this time as well.

He said, "At that time, I was not aware of the nature of the case and whom I was supposed to proceed against". Memon claimed that it was at Akbar's office that it was revealed to him that he is to proceed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa later on.

The FIA former chief also claimed that he later visited Dr Naseem's office as well. "Naseem was also convinced that a case should be made against Justice Isa and asked me to play a role," he stated.

Memon said he tried to convince them that what he was being asked to do was not possible as Justice Isa is a Supreme Court judge. The former FIA officer alleged that Dr Naseem wanted to proceed against Justice Isa on the grounds of money laundering.

"They said it was my mandate. My opinion was that the SJC [Supreme Judicial Council] could do this, or it could ask us to proceed, but the FIA could not do this at the government's request," he added.

Read more: PM Imran breaks silence over explosive claims

PM Imran however denied the “baseless” claims made by Memon. “This is a baseless allegation. I never told him [ex-FIA director general Bashir Memon] to file a case or launch an inquiry against Justice Isa,” the premier told a group of TV hosts in Islamabad.

“I only told him to investigate the iqama case against PML-N leader Khawaja Asif," he added.

The decision to probe into the case against the PML-N leader was made during a federal cabinet meeting, PM Imran maintained.

The federal government in May 2019 moved a presidential reference in the SJC, claiming that Justice Isa had committed misconduct by not disclosing his family member’s foreign assets in his wealth statement.

The apex court – with a majority of 6 to 4 – on Monday had allowed the review petitions filed against its June 19, 2020 order for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct an inquiry into the foreign properties of the family members of Justice Isa.

With this verdict, Justice Isa – who is in line to become the chief justice of Pakistan – was vindicated of the allegations leveled in a June 2020 presidential reference that claimed that the top court judge had committed misconduct by not disclosing his family members foreign assets in his wealth statement.

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